Bowe certain Ireland can deliver at World cup
September 6, 2011
Tommy Bowe says a smile is back on the faces of the Irish squad after a tough summer © Getty Images
Irish flyer Tommy Bowe is certain the Emerald Isle's golden generation can deliver on rugby's greatest stage.
The World Cup has been an unhappy hunting ground for the Irish, who have never progressed beyond the quarter-finals and have failed to reach that stage on two occasions, in 1999 and 2007.
With Pool C featuring the likes of Italy, the USA and Russia, alongside the highly-fancied Wallabies, hopes are high they can navigate their way into the quarter-finals.
And one masterclass against either the Wallabies or South Africa - their likely last-eight opponents - and the could be propelled into the semi-finals.
Bowe has revealed those lofty ambitions are driving his squad to make it a World Cup to remember.
"People have looked at us as bit of a golden generation. We've won a Grand Slam and countless Triple Crowns (four in six years). But within a successful Irish team, the World Cup is the one we really want to make an impact in.
Ireland's form has been poor of late with four successive defeats in the warm-up internationals doing little to silence doubts that the World Cup's oldest team - their average is 29 - are on the wane.
Bowe, however, insists all that will be forgotten if they produce a statement of intent in their opener against the USA in New Plymouth on Sunday.
"Losing those games last month will be in the back of our heads but once we get off to a good start against the USA, that will be behind us," he said.
A challenging August, which saw injuries and results combine to darken the mood, has faded from memory since the team's arrival in Queenstown. Selecting the adventure sports capital of New Zealand as the squad's base for the build-up week to the tournament has proved an inspired decision.
Bowe has revealed the players have been revitalised by their breathtaking surroundings, stressing that a content team is more likely to produce results.
"We've really been enjoying it here. It's a great spot. The training facilities are great," said the Ospreys winger.
"The social side of it has been brilliant. The social committee of myself, Isaac Boss and Rory Best have come up trumps.
Bowe intends making the most of his time in New Zealand. "I was the 31st man in 2007. It was a disappointing time for me and my rugby. It was a difficult tournament to watch, but I'm delighted to be here now. I want to be part of a successful team, not just to make up the numbers.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Top 14, Super Rugby and the Aviva Premiership with fireworks and monsters both featuring
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
It is 100 years this week since the last international match played in Europe before the outbreak of World War One. Rewind remembers the fixture's longest-living survivor
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14